When I was in the sign-making business, I enjoyed analyzing company signs and billboards. I noticed that the simpler the sign was, the more it would get noticed. If a sign was filled with small text, multiple logos, and lots of slogans or contact info, the message would get lost in the shuffle.
Less was always more.
I’ve heard it said that essential to art and design is elimination. The best art pieces are those in which all the excess has been chiseled away so that all that’s left are the essential elements.
I recently watched this short video by Dan Heath (co-author of Made to Stick) about creating effective PowerPoint presentations.
“If you say 10 things, you say nothing.”
The challenge as a presenter or communicator is to clarify the point you want to make and not let it get muddled up by distracting unnecessary details. The challenge with visual design is making sure every element on the page is there to support your message, and removing the merely decorative pieces from the page.
Next time you’re preparing to give a talk, designing a newsletter or business card, take a minute to see if you can remove any elements to communicate your message more clearly.